Andy Banks praises Plymouth prospects in wake of Armada Cup triumphs
Plymouth Diving’s Andy Banks praised the club’s emerging stars for producing a closely-fought Armada Cup competition at the Life Centre last weekend.
A Plymouth side without their senior divers were pipped to the overall winners’ title by Sheffield.
Olympians Tom Daley, Tonia Couch and Sarah Barrow were omitted through either illness or injury from the popular annual four-day event. But Banks said the club’s up-and-coming athletes had “stood up to be counted against many of the best divers in the United Kingdom”, only to lose out on the team title by 14 points.
The Great Britain coach also praised the organisational skills of the Life Centre’s staff and many volunteers for helping make Plymouth’s second major diving event inside two weeks a great success.
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Earlier this month, Plymouth’s multi-million pound sports venue had staged the British Gas Diving Championships, where Daley, Couch and Barrow had all won gold medals and national titles in their first outing of the year. Banks declared that, even without his big-hitters, the event had shown the quality of talent bubbling beneath in the Life Centre pool. He said: “We are all delighted with the Armada Cup. Our young and perhaps lesser-known divers all did us proud.
“It’s a pity we couldn’t have won the Armada Cup, but Sheffield came en masse and so our guys deserve a lot of credit for pushing them all the way.
“The likes of Shanice Lobb, Kayleigh Sinclair, Matthew Dixon, Victoria Vincent, Robyn Birch, Danny Bates and Ollie Piper all showed that we can score points and win stuff without major players like Tom, Tonia and Sarah in the line-up.
“Tom was excused duty as he’s still suffering from a bad cold and Tonia and Sarah both had back niggles, so didn’t take part,” he explained.
Dixon won a gold medal for Plymouth in Sunday’s boys’ C platform final, scoring 225.20 points. Dixon also medalled on Saturday, coming second in the boys’ C one-metre final, scoring 122.75 points. He was sandwiched between Leeds’ Anthony Harding (125.40) and third-placed Bron Jenkinson (116.60) of Sheffield.
There was first and second for Plymouth in the girls’ B one-metre final, with Lobb and Sinclair winning gold and silver on Sunday. Lobb totalled 152.40 points and Sinclair 147.95.
There was a podium-topping performance on Sunday by Vincent, who took the girls’ C three-metre final with 143.75 points. Vincent, who has moved to Plymouth from London, also came second in the girls’ C platform final with 135.95, having won the one-metre final last Friday.
On Saturday, Sinclair and Lobb, who won the synchro together, were on the podium for Plymouth in the girls’ three-metre final. Sinclair won gold with 171.40 points and Lobb bronze (129.50) with Sheffield’s Sarah Leach securing silver on 133.90 points.
There was an impressive display in the men’s platform final from Bates, who won with a score of 181.90 points.
There was platform success for Birch in the women’s event. Another youngster to swap London for Plymouth, she finished on 185.20 ahead of GB junior star Georgia Ward.
Piper called the shots in the boys’ B three-metre final, posting 161.85 points to win gold. Piper also took silver in the boys’ B platform final.